I remember reading that this is the reason Steve Jobs wouldn't license the Mac OS X operating system to other OEM vendors. As I understand it, a good deal of this crap is caused by misaligned incentives. Software companies pay OEMs to preload computers with their buggy, invasive, resource hogging software. Thanks to the Microsoft Windows operating system having all sorts of nooks and crannies to hide this sort of stuff in, like msconfig; the "PC", with which Windows is synonymous, is seen as a painful platform full of crashes and arcane bullshit.
Of course, the cure is presented in the form of locked down, proprietary platforms which shelter users from software companies self inflicted wounds. As times goes on; these platforms will slowly come to resemble their former counterparts, but without the relief of being able to uninstall the crapware.
I think that priority one for people interested in the future of computing is to fix the experience for the 99%.
EDIT: The answer isn't necessarily other open systems like Linux or Haiku, OEM manufacturers can screw the default installs on those systems up just as well.
The explanation I have always heard is that the margin on the software license (for OS 7) was not high enough to make up for the loss in hardware profits. The problem was exacerbated because the clone makers were targeting the high-margin top-end of the Apple line. (In other words, pretty much what the parent comment said.)
I think what he's trying to say is that on Mac you get a fresh OS every time. It's never preloaded with crap. If you don't like the !ac you'll find a way to tell me I'm wrong but there really isn't any third party crapware on the Mac. You don't get security alerts every 2 seconds, and uninstalls really do just uninstall apps. You know exactly what to expect when you buy a Mac and the experience stays roughly the same throughout the lifetime of the machine. You can get crapware on a Mac but its pretty rare.
So basically you get a machine in mint condition. And yeah, it is like Linux in that when you install the OS it's the OS and nothing more. You can talk about freedom and locked down platforms all day long and I'll even agree but thats neither here nor there. Point is, the Mac isn't screaming for your attention, doesn't come preloaded with shit, and generally doesn't fuck with you in the same way Linux doesnt do those things. There are exceptions to every rule and god knows you have to cover them all here on HN but generally speaking that's the way it is.
1. 1st-party OS installations in which the OS creators sell you the hardware with only the OS installed (Apple). Or possibly 3rd parties can license your OS only if they don't install any additional software (sort of like Nexus phones). Or obviously you could install Linux distros yourself... which is not appealing to most people.
2. Monitored software installations either in the form of (A) community managed software repositories as done with Linux distros and the BSDs, and/or (B) "app stores" with restrictive policies and sandboxed apps.
The cure could also be MS limiting what OEMs can do to the pre-installed OS. Of course, if OEMs switch to free OSes, the copyleft would make it impossible for the OS maintainer to make any such demend. Another solution would be consumer pressure to not crap load PCs. This is one of the main reasons Macs did so well, but their is no reason a OEM cant get a brand recognition as non crap-loaded PCs.